It is 1pm. The yellowish rays of the sun fall brilliantly on the rustling leaves of nearby trees, while its light plays a trick on the trees’ greenery. The rustling sound of the leaves and the chirping sound of birds nested on the tree branches create a harmonious sound that only nature can produce. It is this kind of atmosphere the MicCom Golf Resort in Ada has to offer this Saturday afternoon.
Our itinerary that afternoon also took us to the famous Erin-Ijesha Waterfall. “Welcome to Erin-Ijesa Waterfall. The Living spring” reads a weather-beaten signpost at the entrance.
Although the inscription is almost fading, yet they are legible. Used packs of food, can drinks litter everywhere. Food, drinks, and shower cap vendors shout out their wares to the hearing of adventurous tourists and picnickers, who throng the waterfall daily. A group of tourists is finding its way out when we arrived.
We hiked up amid threat of climbing different levels from those who were there the previous year. Defying the threat, we trudge on in anticipation of what lies ahead, stepping on the murky water streaming down the stairway. Intermittently, as we scrambled upward the muddy, rocky slope, we pause for a couple of group photos before moving on.
The lapping sound of the spring could be heard miles away as we climb the muddy dilapidated stairs of the waterfall, as the coolness of the spring permeates everywhere. After walking for about 10 minutes, we came face-to-face with the famous Erin-Ijesa Waterfall. The water cascades down slimy rocks turned green by the constant flow of water. Broken pieces of rocks serve as stepping stones through which we climb up to the water.
The Olumirin Waterfall, as it is also called, is lovely and the sight before us is breathtaking. We all screamed for joy at the sight of the gift that Mother Nature bestowed on us. With almost a blind rush, few of us pull off our clothes to have a firsthand feel of the cool water gushing out of the rock.
Erin Ijesha is just one of the many gifts with which nature has endowed Nigeria. Little wonder why the ministry of culture, tourism and national orientation recently unveiled a brand identity slogan called Fascinating Nigeria. Edem Duke, minister of culture, tourism and national orientation says Nigeria has abundant scenic beauty that qualifies it to compete on global tourism market.
“Ecotourism is big in Nigeria. Nigeria has some of the best cultures in the world which makes it a destination of choice. It is for this reason we have come up with a brand identity. There is no country in the world that doesn’t have a brand identity when it comes to tourism. Virtually every country in Africa has something that speaks to the ethos of their tourism products.”
Nigeria as a destination has so much to offer in terms of tourism, fashion, music, Nollywood, ecotourism amongst others. It has been ranked the top most visited country on the continent for business tourism, hence the ministry of tourism, the minister explains, have been working quietly in the last few months to come up with a slogan that perfectly encapsulates what Nigeria stands for when it comes tourism.
“There is nowhere in the world that Nigeria is not seen as a fascinating destination. Tourism and culture in the country will activate this. We are working towards the brand launch in the first week of July in Abuja. The social media will begin a preliminary exposure of the brand.”
With the brand launch, Nigeria will be placed on the same tourism map as a destination of choice alongside South Africa that has previously had Limitless Possibility, Impossible as its brand slogans.
“With the brand identity, we are going into years of recovery. We have been positioning the country for domestic consumption. I once told the commissioners of tourism to present to me a night package to sell their various states for tourism. Only a few of them have responded. And all the states of the federation are very rich tourist destinations but not all of them are ready to take on foreign tourist visitors immediately. Now states are just beginning to know the importance of developing their states for tourism.”
Meanwhile, Sally Mbanefo who has been just been appointed the new director general of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) says it is important that stakeholders in the Nigerian tourism market begin to think like business people.
“We are now beginning to engage the stakeholders in the industry. We want them to begin to convey what Nigeria has to offer in terms of tourism. The private sector must be engaged. I hope to bring the financial and commercial blueprint to the sector for job creation and poverty alleviation,” she says.